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Daily Current Affairs

7-February-2024- Top News of the Day

1. Southern California Braces for Impact as 'Pineapple Express' Atmospheric River Brings Heavy Rainfall and Increased Landslide Risks

Topic: GS1 – Geography – Climate Change
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding atmospheric rivers and their characteristics.
Context:
  • Southern California is currently experiencing significant rainfall, increasing the risk of landslides due to saturated ground.
  • This precipitation is attributed to an ‘atmospheric river,’ a meteorological phenomenon characterized by large amounts of moisture transported from the tropics to higher latitudes.
  • While this rainfall brings both benefits and challenges to the region, understanding atmospheric rivers is crucial to grasp their impact.
More about the news: Understanding Atmospheric Rivers and the Pineapple Express:
  • Atmospheric rivers are described as narrow sections of the Earth’s atmosphere that transport moisture from tropical regions near the equator to polar areas.
  • Often compared to the flow of the Amazon River, these atmospheric rivers release moisture upon reaching land, resulting in heavy rain or snowfall.
  • The current rainfall in California is associated with the Pineapple Express, an atmospheric river originating from subtropical waters around Hawaii.
Positive Effects of Rainfall on California:
  • After enduring years of drought, California welcomes the recent rainfall, especially in Southern regions.
  • This precipitation is beneficial for replenishing water resources and supporting aquatic life, such as Chinook salmon, which suffered during dry periods.
  • However, the uneven distribution of rainfall poses challenges, particularly for areas lacking storage capacity and resources to capture stormwater effectively.
Challenges and Risks Associated with Increased Rainfall:
  • While the additional moisture aids in wildfire resistance, it also fosters the growth of vegetation that can serve as fuel for future fires when the weather becomes dry again.
  • This phenomenon, known as flashy fuels, poses a significant risk for rapid fire growth during dry seasons.
  • The lush greenery resulting from rainfall in the summer months can transform into highly flammable vegetation, exacerbating wildfire risks in the region.
Conclusion:
  • The current rainfall in Southern California, driven by atmospheric rivers like the Pineapple Express, brings much-needed relief from drought conditions but also poses challenges such as landslides and increased wildfire risks.
  • Understanding the dynamics of atmospheric rivers is essential for effectively managing the impacts of such weather events and ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of changing climate patterns.
What is the “Pineapple Express” Phenomenon?
One particular illustration of the widespread atmospheric phenomena known as atmospheric rivers is “Pineapple Express.” The majority of the water vapour that travels outside of the tropics is carried by these long, narrow zones in the atmosphere, which are also referred to as “rivers in the sky” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are very moist, carrying as much water vapour as the Mississippi River on average, and occasionally even more, at its point of entry into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • An atmospheric river’s position is essential for it to be designated as a “true Pineapple Express.” Hawaii must be the starting point of the tail end, which is where the moisture is drawn into the atmosphere.
  • The river must then flow endlessly through the atmosphere to reach the West Coast of the United States.
  • Because it is a constant flow of moisture, this kind of atmospheric river is known to bring substantial rains to the West Coast.
PYQ: ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2017)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of atmospheric rivers and their impact on regional weather patterns and environmental dynamics, with a focus on the recent inundation in Southern California. (150 words/10 m)

2. Indian Doctor Defies Cancer Odds with Revolutionary CAR-T Cell Therapy: A Beacon of Hope for Cancer Patients

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Biotechnology

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the significance of CAR-T cell therapy in cancer treatment.
Context:
  • Dr. VK Gupta, a 64-year-old gastroenterologist based in Delhi, defied expectations by not only overcoming cancer but also returning to work in 2024.
  • His remarkable journey showcases the potential of CAR-T cell therapy, a pioneering treatment recently approved for commercial use in India.

More about the news:

What is CAR T-cell Therapy?

  • CAR T-cell therapies are a major breakthroughin cancer treatment.

In contrast to drug-based treatments like chemotherapy or immunotherapy, CAR T-cell therapies make use of the patient’s own cells.

  • To target tumour cells and activate T-cells, they undergo laboratory modification.
  • Leukaemias (cancers originating from white blood cells) and lymphomas (arising from the lymphatic system) are now recognised indications for CAR T-cell treatment.

Procedure:

  • The patient’s T cells are isolated, and in the lab, the gene for a unique receptor that attaches to a specific protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added to the T cells.
  • A chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is the name given to this unique receptor. A substantial quantity of CAR T cells are cultured in a lab and administered intravenously to the patient.Everything You Need To Know About

Significance:

  • Greater clinical success is achieved by CAR T-cell therapies because they are even more selective than targeted medications and because they directly activate the patient’s immune system to combat cancer.
  • This is the reason behind the term “living drugs.”

Challenges:

  • Preparation:A significant barrier to the widespread application of CAR T-cell treatments has been the complexity of their preparation.

A decade ago, saw the publication of the first successful clinical trial, and in 2021 India carried out the first homegrown therapeutic development.

  • Side Effects:The efficacy in some types of lymphomas and leukaemias can reach 90%, but it is much lower in other cancer types.

Significant adverse effects are also possible; these include neurological symptoms (severe disorientation, seizures, and speech impairment) and cytokine release syndrome, which is characterised by a widespread immune system activation and collateral damage to the body’s normal cells.

  • Affordability:The introduction of CAR T-cell therapy in India may encounter financial and practical difficulties.

Critics believe that since CAR T-cell therapy will remain out of reach for the majority of people, it may not be cost-effective to develop in India.

What are T Cells?
  • T lymphocytes, another name for T cells, are a subset of white blood cells that are essential to the immunological response.
  • T cells assist the body in identifying and reacting to foreign things, such as bacteria, viruses, and aberrant cells, including cancer cells, as part of cell-mediated immunity.
  • The helper T cell and the cytotoxic T cell are the two main subtypes of T cells.
  • Helper T cells, as their names imply, ‘assist’ other immune system cells, whereas cytotoxic T cells ‘kill’ virally-infected cells and tumours.

Everything You Need To Know About

PYQ: Which one of the following statements best describes the role of B cells and T cells in the human body? (2022)

 

(a) They protect the environmental allergens. body

(b) They alleviate the body’s pain and inflammation.

(c) They act as immunosuppressants in the body.

(d) They protect the body from the diseases caused by pathogens.

Ans: (d)

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of CAR-T cell therapy in revolutionizing cancer treatment, particularly in the Indian context following its recent approval for commercial use. (150 words/10 m)

3. Rajya Sabha Passes Water Pollution Control Bill Amendment: Decriminalization and Regulatory Streamlining at Forefront

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the bill.
Context:
  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, aiming to decriminalize minor water pollution offenses and exempt certain industrial plants from statutory restrictions.
  • Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav emphasized the need for harmony between development and environmental protection, asserting that the bill’s provisions would enhance transparency in addressing water pollution issues.
More about the news: Rationalization of Criminal Provisions:
  • The amendment seeks to rationalize criminal provisions to ensure that citizens and businesses operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical, or procedural defaults.
  • It aims to align the penal consequences of offenses with their seriousness, fostering a conducive environment for businesses and promoting ease of living and doing business.
 Empowerment of Central Government:
  • Under the proposed law, the central government will have the authority to exempt certain categories of industrial plants from restrictions on new outlets and discharges.
  • This provision aims to streamline surveillance efforts and alleviate unnecessary burdens on regulatory agencies, facilitating a more efficient regulatory framework.
Enhanced Oversight and Guidelines:
  • The bill empowers the central government to prescribe guidelines for the nomination of chairpersons of State Pollution Control Boards and issue directives regarding the grant, refusal, or cancellation of consent for industrial operations.
  • These measures aim to ensure fair appointment procedures and alignment with similar provisions in the Air Act, enhancing regulatory consistency and effectiveness.
Conclusion:
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill represents an effort to balance environmental protection with the ease of doing business by rationalizing criminal provisions and empowering the central government to oversee regulatory matters.
  • While proponents highlight its potential to enhance transparency and reduce regulatory burdens, critics raise concerns about centralization of power and dilution of environmental safeguards, underscoring the complex interplay between economic development and environmental conservation.
More Details about Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was enacted in 1974 to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution.
  • The Act prescribes various penal provisions for non-compliance or contravention of the provisions punishable with imprisonment.
  • The Amendment Bill, tabled in the Rajya Sabha, emphasizes that the cornerstone of democratic governance lies in the government trusting its own people and institutions.
  • The Bill indicates that outdated rules and regulations causes trust deficit.
  • For example, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 imprisonment of up to three months for not informing the State Board about abstraction of water from a stream or well.
  • The Bill amends it to a fine between Rs10,000 and Rs15 lakh.
  • The imprisonment provisions for minor violations which are simple infringements, not leading to any injury to humans or damage to the environment, many a times cause harassment to business and citizen.
  • It is also not in consonance with the spirit of Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.
  • Therefore, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024 proposes rationalising criminal provisions and ensuring that citizens, business and companies operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical or procedural defaults.
PYQ: Enumerate the National Water Policy of India. Taking river Ganges as an example, discuss the strategies which may be adopted for river water pollution control and management. What are the legal provisions for management and handling of hazardous wastes in India? (200 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2013)
Practice Question:  Examine the significance and implications of the recent amendments to the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. (150 words/10 m)

4. Rajya Sabha Passes Bills Modifying SC/ST Lists in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Focus on Inclusion of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice- Vulnerable sections: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the significance of these bills in expanding the scope of representation for marginalized communities, particularly Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Context:
  • The Rajya Sabha approved two bills aimed at modifying the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Both bills, namely the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, were passed by a voice vote and were introduced by Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda.

More about the news:

Modification of SC/ST Lists in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha:

  • The first bill pertains to the modification of the SC/ST list in Andhra Pradesh, while the second bill focuses on altering the SC/ST list in Odisha.
  • Minister Munda highlighted the long-term planning behind these bills, noting the addition of three ethnic groups—Bondo Porja, Khond Porja, Parangiperja—in Andhra Pradesh and four groups in Odisha to the list of Scheduled Tribes.
  • These groups are identified as Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) and have been included in the scheduled list after 75 years of Independence.

Addressing the Needs of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups:

  • Minister Munda emphasized the government’s efforts to reach out to the 75 PVTGs spread across various regions, working in mission mode to provide assistance to those residing in far-flung areas.
  • He underscored the historical deprivation faced by these groups, leading to the denial of conditional rights and injustices.
  • The government has initiated schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan to uplift the socio-economic conditions of PVTGs and address their needs.

Government Initiatives and Considerations:

  • Minister Munda mentioned that the government is considering suggestions from members to add more communities from their respective states to the SC/ST lists.
  • He highlighted ongoing efforts to engage with state governments, particularly where the population of PVTGs is declining, and reiterated the government’s commitment to improving the well-being of marginalized tribal communities through targeted schemes and initiatives.

Conclusion:

  • The passage of these bills reflects the government’s commitment to empowering tribal communities and addressing historical injustices.
  • By modifying the SC/ST lists to include additional ethnic groups, particularly PVTGs, the government aims to ensure their socio-economic upliftment and integration into mainstream society.
  • These legislative measures underscore the importance of inclusive governance and targeted interventions to address the specific needs of vulnerable tribal populations across India.

How Schedule Tribe is recognized?

Lokur Committee, 1965

The Lokur committee gave the following criteria for the recognition of any community as Scheduled Tribes:

  1. Indication of Primitive Traits
  2. Distinctive culture
  3. Geographical Isolation
  4. The shyness of contact with the community at large
  5. Backwardness.

However, the above criteria are not mentioned in the Constitution.

Everything You Need To Know About

PYQ: Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India: (2019)

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Ans: (c)

Practice Question:  Evaluate the implications of including Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the scheduled lists and analyze the government’s initiatives aimed at addressing historical injustices and socio-economic disparities among tribal communities. (250 words/15 m)

5. Uttarakhand tables UCC Bill in Assembly

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Indian constitution – Significant provisions
Crucial for UPSC as it explores the significance of a state implementing a Uniform Civil Code, impacting social and legal aspects.
Context
  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister tables a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, aiming for the state to be the first with uniform laws on marriage, divorce, and live-in relationships.
  • Scheduled Tribes are excluded.
Additional information on this news:
  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister tables Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in the Assembly, calling it a “historic moment.”
  • If passed, Uttarakhand will be the first Indian state with uniform laws on marriage, divorce, succession, and live-in relationships.
  • Scheduled Tribes, constituting 2.9% of the state’s population, excluded from the UCC.
  • BJP legislators support the Bill with chants, while the Opposition criticizes it as a “poll gimmick” with unclear urgency.
  • UCC addresses equal rights in divorce, ending practices like ‘Halala’ and ‘Iddat,’ with penalties for offenses.
  • Registration of marriages and divorces becomes mandatory, impacting government facilities; custody of children under five goes to the mother.
  • Failure to register live-in status results in imprisonment; false information during registration leads to penalties.
  • Children from live-in relationships considered legitimate, with equal property inheritance rights for sons and daughters.
  • After a person’s death, wife, children, and parents granted equal rights to the deceased’s property, a departure from previous norms.
Uniform Civil Code
Introduction:
  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a proposal in India to replace personal laws based on religious scriptures with a common set of laws governing every citizen.
  • Aimed at promoting gender equality, social justice, and national integration.
  • The constitutional backing of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India is primarily derived from Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Key Principles:
  • Equality before the law for all citizens, irrespective of religion.
  • Ensuring a uniform set of laws governing marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
Gender Equality:
  • UCC aims to eliminate discriminatory practices against women present in various personal laws.
  • Ensures equal rights and opportunities for men and women in matters of marriage, divorce, and property.
Social Harmony:
  • Promotes unity by fostering a sense of national identity and common citizenship.
  • Reduces communal tensions arising from differences in personal laws.
Legal Simplification:
  • Replaces the complex web of personal laws with a simplified and uniform legal framework.
  • Eases the judicial burden and ensures consistent interpretation of laws.
Challenges:
  • Opposition from religious groups citing infringement on religious freedom.
  • Concerns about the potential loss of cultural identity.
Conclusion:
  • The Uniform Civil Code is a crucial step towards a modern, equitable, and unified legal system in India, fostering equality and national integration. Balancing these objectives while respecting diverse cultural identities remains a challenge.
PYQ: Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the directive Principles of State Policy. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2015)

6. Rajya Sabha passes Bills to add PVTGs of Odisha, A.P. in ST lists.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable Sections
The amendment bills on Scheduled Tribes in Rajya Sabha hold UPSC importance for governance, social justice, and tribal welfare.
Context
  • The Rajya Sabha passed bills amending ST lists in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, adding new communities and recognizing seven Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
 Additional information on this news: Bills Passed:
  • Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 2024
  • Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 2024
Objective:
  • Addition of new communities to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list in Odisha.
  • Inclusion of synonyms and phonetic variations of existing tribes in the ST lists of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Support and Bipartisanship:
  • Both Bills received support from Members of Parliament across party lines.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs):
  • Seven PVTGs, a subset of STs, were notably added—four in Odisha and three in Andhra Pradesh.
  • These additions included independent names as synonyms or sub-tribes of existing communities on the ST lists of the respective states.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister’s Comments:
  • Arjun Munda, Union Tribal Affairs Minister, criticized previous non-NDA governments for not explicitly including the most vulnerable STs, the PVTGs, in the ST lists.
  • Claimed that the current government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is addressing this by bringing legislation for their inclusion.
Specific Additions in Odisha:
  • Pauri Bhuyan and Paudi Bhuyan added as synonyms of the Bhuyan tribe.
  • Chuktia Bhunjia included as a synonym of the Bhunjia tribe.
  • Bondo recognized as a sub-tribe of the Bondo Poraja tribe.
Specific Additions in Andhra Pradesh:
  • Bondo Porja and Khond Porja included as synonyms of the Porja tribe.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups
  • Special category of indigenous communities in India facing extreme socio-economic marginalization.
  • Identified based on specific criteria like pre-agricultural technology, stagnant or declining population, and a distinctive culture.
  • Exist in remote and difficult terrains, often with minimal access to mainstream facilities.
  • Government initiatives aim to protect their unique identity and ensure their welfare through targeted schemes.
  • Faces challenges such as land alienation, exploitation, and lack of education.
  • PVTGs are entitled to constitutional safeguards, affirmative action, and exclusive development programs.
  • Ethnographic studies are conducted to understand their needs and promote sustainable development.
  • Focus on preserving their languages, traditions, and ensuring inclusive growth for these marginalized communities.
PYQ: Why are the tribals in India referred to as the Scheduled Tribes? Indicate the major provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India for their upliftment. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2016)
Practice Question:  Explain the significance of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the context of India. (150 words/10 m)

7. Temples and mosques as a marker to study the life and times of Aurangzeb

Topic: GS1 – Indian History
The Gyanvapi Masjid controversy sheds light on historical events, governance, and communal tensions, relevant for UPSC exam preparation.
Context
  • The article discusses the historical background of Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi, focusing on Aurangzeb’s political motives, temple destruction, and the current controversies surrounding the medieval monument.
 Additional information on this news:
  • The Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi has become a point of contention, with Muslims gathering in large numbers for prayers amid increasing pressure from Hindutva forces.
  • The mosque was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century after demolishing a temple on the land occupied by defiant zamindars (landlords).
  • Initially, Aurangzeb showed respect towards Brahmins and requested their prayers for the well-being of the Mughal empire after ascending the throne.
  • However, political motives led Aurangzeb to authorize the destruction of certain Hindu and Jain temples, with historian Audrey Truschke citing around 12 such instances.
  • In 1659, Aurangzeb issued a farman asking officials not to disturb the Brahmins of Benares, emphasizing their importance for the well-being of the empire.
  • The destruction of the Vishvanath Temple in Benares was seen as a warning to anti-Mughal factions, including troublesome zamindars and influential Hindu religious leaders.
  • The Vishvanath Temple was built during Akbar’s reign, later demolished during Aurangzeb’s rule in 1669, and a new temple was constructed in the 18th century by Maratha ruler Ahilyabai Holkar.
  • Historian Satish Chandra suggests that Aurangzeb viewed temples as centers spreading subversive ideas, leading to strict actions against them.
  • Architectural historian Madhuri Desai argues that the Vishvanath Temple was built in the 18th century, while others believe it existed before Muslim invaders, possibly in the 12th century.
  • The Gyanvapi Masjid, also known as Masjid Alamgiri or Jama Masjid, is embroiled in legal and social controversies today, representing a medieval monument reflecting the era of Aurangzeb.

8. ‘Tax-to-GDP ratio to hit all-time high of 11.7% of GDP in FY25’

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy –  Issues relating to growth
Crucial for UPSC: India’s rising tax-to-GDP ratio, government’s tax reforms, and fiscal policies contribute to economic development and governance.
Context
  • India’s tax-to-GDP ratio is expected to reach a record 11.7% in 2024-25, driven by increased direct tax collection, as the government aims to simplify the tax regime.
 Additional information on this news:
  • India’s tax-to-GDP ratio is projected to reach a record high of 11.7% in 2024-25, driven by increased direct tax collection.
  • Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra emphasizes the government’s focus on simplifying and rationalizing the tax regime to minimize disputes and enforcement intrusiveness.
  • Corporate and personal income tax rates have been reduced to encourage adoption of the new tax regime, which offers a higher tax-free income threshold.
  • Personal Income Tax collections have seen a 28% growth so far this year, with expectations of moderating to 20%-22% by March.
  • A Group of Ministers has been reconstituted to review GST rates, aiming for periodic adjustments to rationalize rates on different items.
  • The tax-to-GDP ratio is expected to increase due to a rise in direct taxes, reaching 6.7% in 2024-25, contributing to a more equitable distribution.
  • Government anticipates a 1.1 buoyancy in revenue growth for 2024-25, with tax revenues projected to grow at 11.5% as nominal GDP is expected to rise by 10.5%.
Tax-to-GDP ratio
  • The Tax-to-GDP ratio is a crucial economic indicator that measures the proportion of a country’s tax revenue to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • It reflects the government’s ability to generate revenue for public services and expenses.
  • A higher ratio indicates a larger share of economic output is collected as taxes, often associated with higher government spending.
  • Common types of taxes considered in this ratio include income taxes, corporate taxes, and consumption taxes.
  • Tax-to-GDP ratios vary globally, with Nordic countries often having higher ratios compared to others.
  • The ratio is influenced by economic factors, tax policies, and compliance levels.
  • Monitoring this ratio helps assess fiscal sustainability and the government’s reliance on taxation to fund its activities.
Practice Question:  How does the Tax-to-GDP ratio impact a nation’s fiscal health? Discuss key factors influencing this ratio and its implications for economic sustainability. (150 words/10 m)

9. Understanding the delimitation exercise

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Elections
Critical for UPSC: Delimitation process, constitutional provisions, and balancing democracy and federalism are key governance aspects for examination.
Context
  • The article discusses the upcoming delimitation of constituencies in India, explaining the process, constitutional provisions, challenges, international practices, and proposing an ideal solution for balancing democratic and federal principles.
 Additional information on this news: Delimitation Process: Constitutional Provisions
  • Delimitation involves fixing seats and boundaries of constituencies for Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
  • Article 82 and 170 of the Constitution mandate readjustment after each Census.
  • Delimitation Commission, appointed by Parliament, conducts the process.
Frozen Seats and Constitutional Requirements
  • Seats frozen as per 1971 Census to encourage population control measures.
  • The 42nd Amendment Act (till 2000) and 84th Amendment Act (till 2026) maintained seat allocation based on 1971 Census.
  • Boundaries adjusted, but the number of seats and reserved seats for SC/ST based on 2001 Census.
Issues and Implications
  • Population growth disparities among states raise concerns about the delimitation exercise.
  • Two proposed scenarios: Continue with 543 seats or increase to 848 with proportionate distribution.
  • Potential disadvantages for southern and smaller states may contradict federal principles and population control philosophy.
International Practices and Ideal Solution
  • In the U.S., seats capped at 435 since 1913, redistributed after each Census using the “method of equal proportion.”
  • EU Parliament uses “degressive proportionality” based on population size.
  • Proposed solution: Cap Lok Sabha seats at 543, maintaining federal principles, while increasing MLAs to address democratic representation at the state level.
  • Emphasizes empowering local bodies for grassroots democracy.
Delimitation Commission
  • The Delimitation Commission is a body in India responsible for defining the boundaries of parliamentary and assembly constituencies.
  • Established under the Delimitation Act of 2002, it aims to ensure fair representation by periodically readjusting constituencies based on population changes.
  • The Commission is typically constituted after the decennial census to account for population shifts and maintain proportional representation.
  • It is an independent and impartial body tasked with redrawing electoral boundaries to address demographic changes and maintain the principle of one person, one vote.
  • The process aims to enhance democratic representation and is crucial for a fair and effective electoral system.
Practice Question:  How does the Delimitation Commission enhance democratic representation in India? Explain its role in adjusting electoral boundaries and ensuring fair and equitable representation in parliamentary and assembly constituencies. (150 words/10 m)

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